Intimate and compelling interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and other artists. Become a Patron & support our growing podcast! www.patreon.com/commonplacepodcast
Episode 88: Global Roll Call, Part 3
In this third installment of the “Global Roll Call” series, former Commonplace guests Alicia Jo Rabins, Molly Peacock, Darcey Steinke, Layne Browne, Stephanie Burt, John Biewen, Kristin Prevallet, DA Powell, Bernadette Mayer, Rosa Alcalá and Rita Dove as well as three Commonplace listeners share personal updates on their experiences with working more, working less, focus, distraction, escapism, healing, meditation, dreams, collage, yoga, herbal medicine, writing by hand, the apocalyptic novel, and much more with host Rachel Zucker.
Episode 87: Global Roll Call, Part 2
Commonplace listeners and former Commonplace guests Nick Flynn, Erika Meitner, Sabrina Orah Mark, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, and Alicia Ostriker share personal updates on their experience with the COVID 19 outbreak with host Rachel Zucker. Topics include 12 step programs, homeschooling, looking for work, walking, the importance of taking care of yourself and others, and so much more. Original music by “Incidental Exercise” featuring Jay Hammond, Yair Rubinstein and Joe Westerlund. Former Commonplace guest Jenifer Croft closes the episode with a translation of a piece by Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk.
Episode 86: Global Roll Call, Part 1
Commonplace listener Hannah and former Commonplace guests David Trinidad, Alice Notley, John Murillo, Tina Chang, Ada Limón, Cathy Park Hong and M. NourbeSe Philip share personal updates on their experience with the COVID 19 outbreak with host Rachel Zucker. They discuss where they are, who they’re with, and how they’re doing. Topics include; caring for children, worrying about fascism, living along, 9/11, AIDS, anti-Asian/Asian-American racism, and finding the indigenous language of the cosmos. Music by Jay Hammond and the band Trippers & Askers. M.NourbeSe Philip concludes the episode with a reading of a new piece “Covidian Catastrophes.”
Episode 85: The Craft of the Literary Interview
Mike Sakasegawa, host of Keep the Channel Open, was scheduled to moderate a panel at this year’s annual AWP Conference called “The Craft of the Literary Podcast Interview,” featuring Rachel Zucker of Commonplace, Dujie Tahat of The Poet Salon, and David Naimon of Between the Covers. Due to the coronavirus, Mike and the panelists ended up having to cancel their appearance at the conference, which makes it all the sweeter to be able to bring you this podcast version of our panel. In this wide-ranging conversation, Rachel, Dujie, David, and Mike talk all about the “hows” and the “whys” of interviewing, including the importance of establishing rapport with our guests, questions about the ethics of interviewing, and what the role of the host ought to be.
Podcasts by the Panelists
Keep the Channel Open
Between the Covers
The Poet Salon
Episode 84: M. NourbeSe Philip
Host Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, playwright, novelist and anti-racist activist M. NourbeSe Philip the day after Philip received the 2020 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature in New York. Rachel begins by asking M. NourbeSe about a line in her acceptance speech: “Being must be sufficient and not contingent.” They talk about “Sawubona,” a greeting used by Zulu and other African cultures, meaning “I see you,” and discuss why M. NourbeSe calls motherhood a form of radical hospitality with organizing principles that stand in critical opposition to those of white supremacy and colonization. M. NourbeSe talks about a healthy distrust of the English language and the impact of a colonial education—for instance, being tested on Wordsworth’s daffodils on her exams when she had never seen one—and the poem she wants to write about Trinidad and Tobago’s golden Poui trees instead. M. NourbeSe also describes the feeling of working at the margins or brink of visible Caribbean literature, writing/living/speaking in a language that is yours but not your ancestors, and how to break open the language in order to express that which cannot be expressed in English. M. NourbeSe explains why she feels like she could only have written She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks and Looking for Livingstone in Canada, while also, at times, feeling like a disappeared writer in Canada. Rachel and M. NourbeSe reflect on the role of “difficulty” in M. NourbeSe’s writing, what is the “right” part/direction of the page, and our capacities to imagine beyond the binary of capitalism and socialism and to imagine freedom and ways of being beyond the constraints of our existing language.
Episode 83: Darcey Steinke
Rachel Zucker speaks with Darcey Steinke about her recent genre-fluid memoir, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of the Natural Life. Steinke describes her first hot flash, how she came to be fascinated by female killer whales and how important it is to see the changes associated with menopause not as symptoms of disease but as signs of transitioning into a new phase of leadership and power. Steinke talks about how memoirs by trans writers were especially helpful for her when searching for a book to help her through this life transition. Steinke talks about how she began to think of herself as a creature/animal, back surgery, stuttering, faith, going toward brokenness rather than perfection, her mother, her spiritual practices, singing, the authentic self, and why she doesn’t think trying to stay the same is a very good strategy.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One of my favorite podcasts
I listen to every episode and have since the beginning. A phenomenal set of conversations.
I feel almost embarrassed by how much I love these interviews and how hungry I am for this kind of conversation. Thank you.
Immersion, potency, shelter, openness. Call it what you will. Commonplace integrates the crow’s eye view of the world with the one magnified under a glass. The “fourth wall” of art and media is given its proper obliterative treatment, and the ritual of human Encounter is taken out of the dark spaces with a Rachel Zucker’s floodlight style focus.
The edges of this focus are blurry. They shift deliriously, delightfully in the snow. Gaps are ogled; questions flounder without apology in the wondrous, terrible swaying of the world. There is caution, caretaking, admission, waxing, and daring.
Come. Turn up the volume on the train line, along the sidewalk, over your café au lait. In the fetid stairwell, the dingy waiting room, the unmade bed. Pause it when the world shifts a little under-sole. Then resume. Discover new poetry—new art—be invoked. Provoked. Revisit the halls through which you thought you had already passed.
6/5 sincere stars.
An ‘interview’ is a taxidermist’s newest cat.
A ‘conversation’ will go at your wrist veins,
then psychologically eat your anniversary roses
in the name of freedom.